I’ve been waiting to lay ears on this one for awhile. Guitarist Lee Ritenour is in the spotlight with a brand new project that brings some of this genre’s A-list players together alongside some promising newcomers. Talk about star power…this album features guest appearances by Chick Corea, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Dave Grusin, Marcus Miller, Christian McBride and many others. Also appearing throughout the record are the winners of Lee Ritenour’s 2012 Rhythm Section Competition, an international event he launched in 2009 as a guitar competition and later expanded to include up-and-coming keyboardists, bassists and percussionists. The competition winners appearing on the album include keyboardist Hans de Wild from Holland, pianist Demetrius Nabors from Michigan, bassist Michael Feinberg from New York, and drummer Selim Munir from Turkey. The album also features Ritenour’s 19-year-old son Wesley, who is an aspiring drummer in his own right on one of the tracks. Lee says, “I wanted to bring as many voices as possible into this record – some well established, some brand new, and tie it all together with the guitar sound that I feel has become my trademark.” Listen out for your opportunity to pick up Lee Ritenour’s “Rhythm Sessions,” our CD of the month here on WEAA.
Diana Krall, Multiple award winning Jazz Pianist, Singer and Songwriter has come a long way on the road to success. Being known for her Contralto vocals, she has not only opened a new perspective to her music but has consistently brought fresh and groovy tunes for your pleasure.
Reigning from Canada, jazz pianist and singer, Diana Krall has been establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time. Having her start in 1993 with her first debut album and winning multiple awards such as two Grammy and eight Juno Awards, she has made more than a name for herself in the jazz world. Growing up in a household where her father played piano around the house and her mother sang in a community choir helped her to grow a passion for piano at age 4 and have her start playing jazz at a local restaurant by age 15. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, she returned back to her roots in Canada to jumpstart her career with her debut album “Stepping Out” which shared features of other great jazz artists like John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton. In her middle years of music after gaining a buzz in jazz culture, she acquired her band which produced the award winning “Krall Trio” which included her and two new members Bass, Christian McBride and Guitar, Russell Malone. Seeing the success of this new groups sound, she continued to go on World Tour’s and expand her music to film and TV that achieved platinum status and reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200 almost every debut. Some of her songs have been featured on top films like “The Score” (2001) and “When I Look In Your Eyes” (1999) and on a 2007 Lexus ad campaign.
With her latest projects in live performances and working with other music legends like Barbara Streisand in producing her album “Love is The Answer”, she has not let the new age in jazz music stall her success. Having accomplished so much in her music career, she has only taken it a step further with being inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and becoming an honorary board member of the Foundation. With her latest album release last month titled “Glad Rag Doll”, This is only the beginning on a new road of success which she will most likely conquer.
I recently had the pleasure of broadcasting live from the Island of Curacao during the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. The festival line up was amazing. I saw Joe Sample with Randy Crawford, Santana, India Arie and a host of others. One of the true performance highlights came from the Superman of Soul, Marcus Miller! A good portion of his set focused on music from his brand new CD, Renaissance! It features quite a bit of younger musicians in Saxophonist Alex Hann, Drummer Louis Cato, Trumpeters Sean Jones and Maurice Brown with a few other special guests. To watch Marcus in action with these younger musicians was incredible. It’s almost as if their youth has invigorated his sound. You too can hear that energy on the new recording. Renaissance features 13 cuts, mostly original tunes, with a few classics like Ivan Lins classic Setembro. I’ve always been a fan of Quincy Jones’ version of this tune, but Marcus gives it new life . Instead of a Brazilian feel, he goes Latin with the help of vocalist Gretchen Parlato and Ruben Blades. The group also gets funky for a 9 minute ride on a WAR classic, Slippin’ Into Darkness in which Marcus allows the band to stretch out a bit! Add to that some exceptional writing from a man that has played with likes of Miles Davis to Luther Vandross. Renaissance is a solid recording that features a band that has been touring together for the last two years. Their cohesiveness is evident in the way they finish each other musical statements. You’ll find Renaissance on the Concord recording label. It’s yet another classic from one of the best bassist ever to do it, Marcus Miller. It’s our CD of month here on WEAA. Listen daily to hear cuts from this release!
Marcellus “Bassman” Shepard Music Director/ WEAA-FM
Kenny Garrett, Grammy Award-winning American post bop jazz saxophonist and flautist has been making a splash in the jazz world since his youth. Being a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and of Miles Davis's band, he made sure he was going to succeed when it came to Jazz.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, on October 9, 1960, Kenny felt that Jazz sound running through his veins from his father who was a carpenter and played tenor saxophone as a hobby. Growing up and joining Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Miles David Band at the age of 18, it really helped shape his love for instruments and helped him make his solo debut with his first jazz album, Introducing Kenny Garrett, on the Crisscross label in 1984. After this debut, he would be on to experiment his craft on numerous labels such as Atlantic Records and Warner Brothers label through the years 1992-1997. Beginning with Black Hope, in 1992, among his notable recordings on Warner Bros. are Pursuance: The Music of John Coltrane, recorded in 1996, and Songbook, his first album made up entirely of his own compositions, recorded in 1997 and nominated for a Grammy Award.
Over the years, Garrett's music has sometimes been heard to exhibit an Asian influence, an aspect which is especially prevalent in his 2006 recording, Beyond the Wall, which has made his music so much more diverse and appealing to the mass audience of Jazz. For the most part, he has made a critically acclaimed solo career; however, most recently he joined a super group of jazz musicians, the Five Peace Band that consists of electric bass and organ. In 2010, The CD "Five Peace Band - Live" won a GRAMMY Award. Also, most recently in May 2011 Kenny Garrett was presented an Honorary Doctorate in Music Degree from Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts and was also the commencement speaker.
As a composer himself, his full potential may still lie ahead, with more bright moments in the recording studio and on-stage for this talented arranger, composer, musician, and bandleader.